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Lack of offense dooms No. 5 LSU in Lambeau loss to Wisconsin

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Two years ago, LSU and Wisconsin met in Houston for the front end of this odd home-and-home. The Badgers built a 24-7 lead and lost 28-24. For most of the second half, it appeared history would repeat itself. The Badgers built a 13-0 lead and watched it slip away in a matter of six plays. But a late field goal and an even later interception allowed Wisconsin to secure a 16-14 upset of No. 5 LSU at Lambeau Field.

Wisconsin owned the first half, and continued that dominance into the second, forcing a three-and-out on LSU’s first possession, then stuffing the ball 58 yards in five snaps to notch the game’s first touchdown — a five-yard Corey Clement jaunt to put Wisconsin up 13-0 at the 10:47 mark of the third quarter.

The Badgers forced another punt on their next defensive possession, the fifth of the day, but Wisconsin quarterback Bart Houston (looking extreeeemly Bart Houston, with his t-shirt sleeves descending below his jersey sleeves) did the one thing he absolutely, positively could not do: a forced interception on 3rd-and-long from deep in his own territory. Tre’Davious White zigged and zagged across the field to put LSU on the board with an 18-yard pick six at the 5:28 mark of the third quarter.

LSU took advantage of the momentum on their next possession as quarterback Brandon Harris finally sprung to life, finding Leonard Fournette for a 31-yard connection and Travin Dural for a 10-yard touchdown, giving the Tigers a 14-13 lead.

The teams traded punts on their next five possessions before Wisconsin took the lead with 3:47 to go on a 47-yard Rafael Gaglianone field goal.

On the ensuing possession, LSU (0-1) moved from its 25 to the Wisconsin 35 with plenty of time for a game-winning field goal, but Harris through an interception to the chest of Wisconsin defensive back D’Cota Dixon with 57 ticks to go. The pick was a fitting end for LSU, as its offense let the defense and special teams down for the previous 59 minutes as well. For the day the Tigers mustered only 14 first downs and 257 total yards. They converted 2-of-10 third downs and snapped the ball just 50 times to Wisconsin’s 71, dooming their defense to spend 37 of the game’s 60 minutes on the field. Fournette managed 138 yards on 23 carries and three receptions for 38 yards, but failed to dominate the game the way his numbers indicated. Harris connected on 12-of-21 passes for 131 yards with a touchdown and two picks.

Wisconsin (1-0), meanwhile, managed just enough offense to get out of its own way. The Badgers survived not only Houston’s pick six, but also another Houston interception near the LSU goal line and a turnover on downs at the LSU 23. For the day, Houston hit 19-of-31 passes for 205 yards, while Clement rushed 21 times for 86 yards.

LSU’s loss is a rare moment of September weakness, both for itself and the SEC. Today’s result marks LSU’s first regular season non-conference loss since dropping the 2002 opener to Virginia Tech, and just the SEC’s fourth setback in 18 opening week neutral site games. It’s also the first time an SEC team has lost to a Big Ten foe with College GameDay in town to hype the contest; the SEC was 5-0 before today.

Jim Harbaugh, on threatening tweets directed at him by former player: ‘it’s a serious matter’

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The man at the center of a storm not of his creation has spoken.

Elysee Mbem-Bosse, or someone with access to his Twitter account, sent out a string of disturbing and threatening tweets Monday night that seemed to be directed at U-M head football coach Jim Harbaugh.  Even as U-M’s athletic director expressed concern for a player who left the football program in mid-November, the University of Michigan Police Department had already confirmed that they had launched an investigation into the social-media threats.

At a coaching clinic in Detroit Thursday night, Harbaugh for the first time (somewhat) addressed the threatening tweets seemingly directed at him by a former player.  From the Detroit News:

It’s a serious matter,” Harbaugh told The Detroit News. “I’m confident our administration and university officials will take the proper steps and are taking the proper steps.”

Harbaugh was asked if he felt threatened by the tweets.

“That’s all I’m going to say about it,” he said.

He issued the same response when asked when he became aware of the tweets.

Mbem-Bosse, who appeared in 12 games at linebacker the past two seasons, has not been arrested or charged as of yet in connection to the social-media threats.  Even in the face of a police investigation, the Twitter account attached to Mbem-Bosse, which he marked private before switching it back to public, has remained defiant and continued to direct unnerving tweets at his now-former head coach.

Nick Saban had ‘very positive meeting’ with Jalen Hurts’ dad

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Not surprisingly, Nick Saban is taking a measured approach to what could potentially be a volatile situation within his football program.

In an interview that was posted Thursday, Averion Hurts, the father of two-year starting quarterback Jalen Hurts, stated that, if his son fails to beat out Tua Tagovailoa for the starting job, he would “be the biggest free agent in college football history.”  The intimation, of course, was that Hurts would transfer if/when he lost the competition.

As it turned out, the Crimson Tide head coach was previously scheduled to meet with the media later on in the day, after the piece had gained some national traction.  Predictably, Saban was asked about the quotes attributed to the elder Hurts.

In answering the queries, Saban stated that he had met with the father this past weekend in what he described as “a very positive meeting.”

In the article in question, Averion Hurts stated that, while “Coach Saban’s job is to do what’s best for his team… my job is to do what’s best for Jalen.” Saban’s response? From al.com:

At the end of the day, everybody has career decisions that they have to make. Nobody knows what the outcome of this situation will bring. We don’t want any player not to be able to fill their goals and aspirations in our program here. We don’t want that for any of our players. Jalen’s dad has always been very positive and supportive in every conversation that I had.

So I’m not really concerned with what somebody else chose to write because I’m always sort of use the personal communication that I have with our player, Jalen and his family when necessary. And I have a lot of trust and respect for those folks. And I don’t think there’s an issue or problem from my standpoint.

Hurts has taken the majority of first-team reps this spring as Tagovailoa has been extremely limited because of an injury to his left (throwing hand) that has, thus far, required two different surgeries.  Tagovailoa will not participate in the annual spring game this Saturday, and Saban has refused to give a timeline for a decision on a starter to be made.

Will Greg Schiano attend Rutgers camp with Ohio State coaches?

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The most successful head coach in Rutgers program history could be making his long-awaited return to the program. Sort of. Greg Schiano, now Ohio State’s defensive coordinator, could potentially be one of the members of the Ohio State coaching staff that makes a visit to New Jersey this summer for a football camp run by Rutgers.

The East Coast Elite Football Camp will be held on June 1 for high school juniors and seniors. Ohio State’s coaching staff will be a special guest for the camp, leading many to suspect Schiano will be one of the star attractions for the Rutgers camp.

It is worth noting Rutgers head coach Chris Ash was previously the defensive coordinator for Ohio State before accepting his first head coaching gig with the Scarlet Knights. Schiano was hired by Ohio State to fill the vacancy on the coaching staff as defensive coordinator and assistant head coach. With Ash making it his professional mission to build the Rutgers program using the lessons and strategies learned under Meyer at Ohio State, it seems only natural to invite Urban Meyer and his staff to New Jersey to work a football camp. Not only would this be a tremendous selling point for high school juniors and seniors (thus, potential recruits), but the Rutgers staff can benefit from working alongside Ohio State’s coaching staff, which is among the best in the nation.

Schiano turned a dreadful Rutgers program into a competitive program in the Big East over a span of 11 seasons. During that time, Rutgers played in six bowl games, and won five in a row over a six-year span. In 2006, Schiano coached Rutgers to a No. 12 ranking with a record of 11-2. After a 9-4 season in 2011, Schiano accepted the job with the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but a two-year stint in the pros was all Schiano would have before eventually returning to the college game after a two-year break.

Keegan-Michael Key to guest coach at Penn State spring game

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Penn State’s spring game on Saturday could be a coaching matchup of James Franklin vs… James Franklin?

Noted Franklin impressionist and Penn State alum Keegan-Michael Key will be attending the Penn State spring game this Saturday. The school also announced on Facebook Key will be a special guest coach for the game. You can bet the actor will tap his inner Franklin for at least a little bit for some comedy on the sidelines.

Key has made himself visible around Penn State the past few years with his impressions of Franklin during football meetings and on ESPN’s College GameDay. The similarities between Franklin and Key are so good that even the head coach of the Nittany Lions has had to tell some people it’s not him they see on TV sometimes.

With any luck, perhaps we’ll get our first glimpse of the newest addition to the Penn State spring roster, Hingle McCringleberry.

Penn State’s spring game is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. this Saturday.